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Washington State University

EMBA Speakers

Conference Moderators


Chip Hunter

Dean, Carson College of Business

Larry W. (Chip) Hunter was appointed Dean of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business in 2015. He leads the college in its mission to create insight and opportunity through the study of business and the power of our community, for Washington state and the world.

Hunter is committed to building educational opportunities that create upward mobility for students and strengthen the Pacific Northwest’s economy. He believes that such a premier education ought to be available to all students willing and able to do the work expected. Under his leadership, the Carson College aims to be “the model school of business for tomorrow’s land-grant university.”

An award-winning scholar specializing in human resources and industrial relations, Hunter’s research spans industrial settings, with a focus on managing workplaces and human resources to promote organizational goals and positive outcomes for workers.

Prior to his WSU appointment, Hunter served as the Senior Associate Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Pyle-Bascom Professorship in Leadership. Before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002, he spent eight years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.

Hunter earned his doctorate in industrial relations and human resource management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his master’s in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, and his bachelor’s in business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheryl Oliver

Associate Dean, Graduate and Online Programs, Carson College of Business

Cheryl Oliver, Associate Dean for Professional Programs in the Carson College of Business, is a member of the Dean’s leadership team. She leads the highly recognized and respected online MBA, Executive MBA and online undergraduate programs in business at Washington State University.

These programs are designed to deliver on the WSU mission at scale, providing value to all stakeholders regardless of their physical location. Additionally, she has invested in providing brand differentiating opportunities for veterans, military members, and their families to pursue their MBA, ensuring support commensurate with their experience and needs.

This portfolio of programs is consistently recognized as top in the country for quality programming, outstanding faculty and student success. Cheryl began her career in the K-8 education system, earning her undergraduate degree in elementary education with an emphasis in K-8 teaching.

She holds a Master’s in Education Administration with an emphasis in higher education administration and student affairs as well as a Master’s in Business Administration. Ms. Oliver is active in the region supporting programs that emphasize access to education and wellness.


Session Presenters

Raquel Bono

Chief Health Officer,
Viking Cruises

For nearly 30 years, Raquel Bono (‘15) served as a highly honored naval officer and was the first woman surgeon in the military to hold the rank of vice admiral. Today, Bono is the chief health officer for Viking Cruises, a model to establish a C-suite office for re-starting the cruise and travel industry while maintaining a public health safety profile. She’s also a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and a visiting scholar of the University of Texas Value Institute. Previously, she was the director of Washington state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. Prior to that, as the CEO and director of the Defense Health Agency, Bono led a combat support agency enabling all branches of the U.S. military’s medical services to provide healthcare services to combatant commands. She integrated a $50 billion worldwide healthcare enterprise composed of 50 hospitals and 300 clinics providing care to 9.5 million military beneficiaries; oversaw the Department of Defense deployment of the electronic health record system; and advanced the development of the largest federated health system with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Bono earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, Austin; her MBA from WSU Spokane; and her medical degree from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

Michael Nassirian

Senior Executive
Technology Leader

Michael Nassirian is a senior executive, quality architect, and innovative leader known for building and inspiring teams that delight customers around the globe with innovative technologies. He started his career in 1983 at Texas Instruments and later moved to Microsoft in 1997, where he held leadership positions for nearly two decades within the Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows divisions. He also played a key role in developing the HoloLens, a virtual reality headset allowing users to experience 3D holographic images as though they are part of their environment. In 2016, he established ARVR Academy, where young talents and entrepreneurs learn the world of augmented and virtual reality technology. ARVR Academy provides tools, training, and resources to implement ideas into the business world, including cyber security, fiber optics, and big data. Nassirian lives in Bellevue, Washington, and is dedicated to community service and involvement. He’s an active member of the Bellevue Rotary Club, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and several philanthropic and nonprofit organizations.

Melissa Reaves

Founder & CEO
Story Fruition LLC

Melissa Reaves is an Executive Storytelling Mentor & Advisor who helps professionals hone the craft of narrative for a variety of use cases. Her thriving company, Story Fruition, mentors Executives globally as she shows them how to not just share stories in their presentations confidently, but to create “Mind Movies” that mesmerize and captivate business audiences. She coaches Microsoft, Broadcom, World Affairs Council, The Korean Start Up Center, and an expansive list of 100’s of start ups and Series A companies.

Story Fruition offers corporate workshops, Investor Pitch Decks, Story Library Building, 1:1 coaching and keynote coaching.

Her business book, The Storyteller’s Mind Movie , comes out in the Fall of 2022.

Melissa’s own award winning storytelling has been seen on The Moth Story Slam stages, multiple Podcasts, Fresh Ground Stories, Ignite Seattle (2x), Story Collider, NPR and PBS. She walks the storytelling talk!

In addition to business storytelling, Melissa presents stories for Mental Health Awareness and Social Advocacy. Executive Producer and Director of Melanin Stories Matter, a storytelling show that highlights and amplifies the voices of diverse storytellers so that we can collectively move towards inclusion and celebrate our various perspectives using personal stories to open hearts.

Tom Tripp

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Carson College of Business

Thomas Tripp serves as the senior associate dean for academic affairs in WSU Carson College of Business. He is a professor of management at WSU Vancouver and also holds the Rom Markin Chair in Leadership. He is an internationally renowned expert in workplace conflict: for the past 30 years, he has published dozens of scientific papers on workplace conflict and workplace revenge and forgiveness. His work has appeared in several top academic journals and other publications. He is the coauthor of the 2009 book, Getting Even: The Truth about Workplace Revenge – and How to Stop it. Tripp teaches WSU business courses in leadership, negotiation, and in decision-making skills and has won numerous teaching awards, including the Carson College’s top teaching award (three times) and the 2010 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction—the university’s top teaching award. He earned a PhD in organizational behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in psychology from the University of Washington.